13 Reasons Why Your Dog Suddenly Does Not Want to Sleep with You

One of the best things about having a dog is cuddling with them, especially at night in bed. It can be devastating to an owner if they suddenly stop doing it, but understanding why is the first step to fixing the problem.

There is almost always a simple explanation for why your dog won’t sleep with you. The reasons may be that something is wrong with your bed, something is bothering them, or some change in the environment. Here are the top 13 reasons why your dog may not want to sleep with you: 

  1. Your bed is not comfortable for them.
  2. There isn’t enough room in your bed.
  3. They can’t get into your bed.
  4. There is an unpleasant smell in your bed.
  5. Your dog isn’t tired.
  6. Distractions are keeping them away.
  7. You just brought them home, and they don’t know you.
  8. They’re experiencing higher than normal levels of stress.
  9. Your dog is sick or uncomfortable.
  10. There’s someone new in or someone missing from your home.
  11. They’re trying to protect you.
  12. Something scared them.
  13. Something in the environment isn’t conducive to restful sleep.

This article will explore 13 reasons why your dog suddenly does not want to sleep with you and helpful solutions for each scenario. 

There’s Something Wrong with Your Bed

One of the easiest things to consider is that your dog has a problem with your bed, especially if something about your bed or sleeping arrangements has recently changed.

It’s Not Comfortable

Just like people, not all mattresses are comfortable for all dogs. Most dogs prefer to sleep on a firm surface. 

That might be the problem if you have added padding or another topping to your bed. Even if you’re using extra blankets during the winter, it might be a little too soft for them if they sleep on top of the bedding. 

Try stripping any extra bedding from one corner of the bed where you’d like them to sleep. Direct your dog to this spot when it’s time to settle in for the night and see if they seem happier and stay put.

There’s No Room

Another reason your dog won’t sleep with you is that there isn’t enough room in your bed. Every dog is different, and while some are very cuddly sleepers who practically lay on top of you, others like to spread out or move around during the night. 

Pay attention to their behavior at other times: if they like to lay on the opposite end of the couch from you during the day, they probably need a little more space to themselves at night.

If your dog prefers to have their own space, you’ll probably need at least a double-size bed for just you and your pup. If you sleep in the same bed as your partner, it might be time to spring for a king.

They Can’t Get In It

One obvious reason why your dog won’t sleep in your bed is that they can’t get into it in the first place. If you see them sitting or lying right next to the bed, this may signify that they cannot get into your bed. It’s especially relevant if your bed sits up high.

As dogs age, their legs weaken. If you have a senior dog who has suddenly stopped sleeping in your bed, the problem might be as simple as not being able to get in it anymore. Luckily, you can buy inexpensive stairs made for precisely this purpose.

In addition, if they had a recent experience where they couldn’t get up on or down from the bed, they might have trepidations about trying again. Until they overcome their fear, you can lift them up and down.

It Doesn’t Smell Good

Dogs have very sensitive noses. If you have switched anything scented recently, that could be the problem. Things like laundry detergent, linen spray, carpet deodorizer, lotion, shampoo, or anything else they smell on you or the bed.

Many humans enjoy smells that dogs dislike, including citrus fruits and herbs like rosemary and thyme. In addition, dogs hate the smell of alcohol, so that might be the issue if you’ve painted your nails or used hairspray.

Finally, because their noses are so strong, dogs don’t like overpowering smells. If you want puppy cuddles, avoid wearing or using anything heavily-scented (such as perfume).

Something Is Up with Your Dog

Another likely cause for why your dog has suddenly stopped sleeping with you might have something to do with them. It could be a passing mood or a permanent aspect of your dog’s temperament. 

They Aren’t Tired

Dogs need more sleep than most people; dogs sleep about half their day. Still, there is such a thing as too much rest, and if that’s the case for your dog, it might be why they’re reluctant to get in bed at night. Activity is the likely culprit if they won’t settle down to sleep.

Even though they sleep a lot, dogs also need physical and mental stimulation. Requirements vary from breed to breed, but even the smallest and laziest dogs need physical and mental activity.

Try taking them for a daily walk (which is good for you, too!) and having a play session before bedtime.

Other signs that your dog is bored or not getting enough activity include destructiveness and separation anxiety (they get very distressed when you leave). Try adding in walks or more playtime throughout the day, especially in the evening.

They’re Distracted

It’s also possible that there’s something else going on in your home that is drawing their attention away from bedtime. Other family members that are still awake can distract your dog from sleeping.

There may also be something exciting outside. Animals like raccoons scavenge for food at night, distracting your dog. Even your television can be too much stimulation for them. They have very sensitive ears and can hear things we cannot.

Any sounds, smells, or sights that are unfamiliar or unusual can pull your dog’s attention away from bedtime. The sleeping environment should be dark, quiet, and calm. That way, you can both settle down and get some shut-eye.

They Don’t Know You (Yet)

If you’re worried that your new puppy or dog isn’t cuddly because they don’t want to snuggle up on their first few nights, give them time. 

Dogs know that they are vulnerable when they’re asleep. That makes them very picky about who they’re willing to sleep near.

If they don’t know you’re trustworthy yet, they need time to trust you.

Lack of trust could also be part of the problem if you introduce someone new to your family and bed, such as a new partner or dog. They will need to warm up and learn to trust them.

Your Dog is Stressed

Dogs get stressed just like people for a variety of reasons. Many of the changes and occurrences discussed in this article can also raise your poop pup’s stress levels and change their typical behavior, including sleep routines.

Dogs are creatures of habit, so think about whether there have been disruptive changes in their routine. If you have moved recently, gotten a new pet, had a child leave for college, or even switched their usual mealtime, it can cause them stress.

Give your dog time to adjust to the changes while you continue to encourage them to stay close to you. Also, getting more exercise can help them relieve stress. We can’t overemphasize the importance of movement for your dog’s health.

They Are Sick or Have a Physical Problem

Another simple explanation for why your dog won’t sleep with you is that it is physically painful for them to get into bed or stay in one place. If they’re sick or injured, especially their legs, they won’t want to climb into the bed.

Look for other signs that your dog isn’t feeling well. Watch for additional changes in their typical behavior. Ensure they’re eating their food, drinking enough water, going to the bathroom regularly, and having about the same energy level or interest in toys and activities.

If you see other signs that something is wrong, call your veterinarian and mention the changes in sleep patterns when you describe your dog’s symptoms. Your vet can run some routine tests, like bloodwork, to check for anything out of sorts. You’ll rest easier with that peace of mind.

Changes and Environmental Factors

If none of the issues above seem like the culprit for your dog’s change in nighttime routine, there are other causes for your dog’s sudden refusal to sleep with you.

An Addition or Subtraction to the Family

We briefly mentioned this above when we talked about stress, but if someone moves into or out of your home, that can be a drastic change for your dog. 

An addition or subtraction to the family could come in several forms. You might have a new baby, a roommate, or a pet. A child could have left for college, or maybe one of your older pets passed. 

These scenarios can be stressful for your dog and make them extra vigilant. When they need to be more alert and protective, they’re less likely to cuddle up in bed.

The good news is that, with time, your dog will come to trust and accept the new family member as part of their pack, and things will get back to normal.

They Feel the Need to Protect You

We mentioned above that an addition or subtraction to your family can cause your dog to be more vigilant and protective, but many other things can trigger their guard-dog instincts.

Changes of any kind can put your dog on high alert. Dogs are also highly attuned to human emotion, so if you’re scared or stressed, that can cause your dog to feel those things. There may also be strange sounds outside that you can’t hear.

If this seems to be the case, try to reassure them by adopting a calm demeanor yourself. Give your dog time; it may need to adjust to whatever is bothering it to see that it’s harmless.

Your Dog is Scared

Dogs get scared, too, and when they do, their instincts kick in to protect them. While they may seek you out for protection, they may also try to “hide.” 

Dogs are cave animals, so often, when they get frightened, they seek out cave-like hiding spots, such as underneath furniture or inside closets. As you can imagine, being out in the open in your bed is the last place they want to sleep.

Again, in this case, remain calm and reassure your dog using soothing tones. Bring a favorite toy or blanket into the bed as comfort.

They Can’t Get Good Sleep in Your Bed

There are many reasons why your dog may not be able to rest well in your bed. The problem may also be you. If you move around a lot in your sleep, give off too much body heat, or do anything else that disturbs your dog, they might have learned not to sleep with you.

If this is the case, try setting up a barrier of pillows between you and your dog so you don’t bother them anymore. A bigger bed might also do the trick. Or, buy them a bed of their own and put it right next to yours. That way, you can enjoy some closeness while you’re both comfortable.

What To Do If Your Dog Won’t Sleep in Your Bed

If your dog won’t sleep with you in bed, the most important thing is to determine why. Once you figure out what’s getting in its way, you can fix the problem. 

Use the list of possibilities in this article and remedy the situation. Before you know it, you’ll have your cuddly dog next to you all night long.

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